Have you ever had one of those programs that you started planning and after it was over it looked nothing like the way you planned? That was our Star Wars party. When I originally began planning the program I talked with my supervisor and we decided on reserving our large meeting space and offering a number of stations for kids to rotate through. After coming up with ten ideas, we talked again and decided to pair it down a little to make it more manageable with only five stations. So I paired down the list and came up with some great ideas! We set our registration to 40 participants and the day of the event came and we only had 18 registered. I’m still shocked at the number because I really assumed this would be a hit program, especially with all the promotion about the new movie coming out.
So, I gathered my supplies and headed to the large meeting room about an hour before our event was supposed to happen and it was set-up for another meeting. With only an hour to re-configure my plan, thankfully our storytime room was empty (minus the painter’s tape outline of a large dreidel on the floor for Hanukkah storytime). With only an hour of time and a limited space, I decided on offering our R2-D2 craft (template and inspiration) and Lego Star Wars Bingo. The craft had a lot of cutting out to do (perfect scissor skill craft) and kids LOVE Bingo.
So frantically, before the kids arrived I created ten more bingo cards and overall the program went really well. We only ended up with 13 kids showing up (which ended up being a blessing) and they spent at least 25 minutes working on the craft and then we played 3-4 rounds of bingo before it was time for snack and the kids headed home. It definitely wasn’t what I expected, but I’m glad I was able to roll with the punches, so to say, and adapt the program as necessary!
I cannot claim the genius of this idea, those props have to go to Amy at her blog, The Show Me Librarian. Last fall we offered Life-Size Candyland and Clue at our library and the kids had a blast. If you’re thinking about adding this type of programming, Chutes & Ladders was by far the easiest of the three.
For Life-Size Chutes & Ladders I used masking tape (a lot of masking tape), cardstock in bright colors, and yarn. We also created some really neat spinners using old DVDS and DVD cases (of which we have plenty). We ended up with a really small number of kids, but the kids who played had an awesome time. We made a board of about 50 squares with five ladders and five chutes and the kids lived for the those ladders and were so upset when they had to slide down the chutes. Each child got a spinner and as they came in, I gave them a nametag with their name and a number to help me know what order the kids were in. We had only about eight kids, if you have anymore, I would suggest starting simultaneous games so the kids wouldn’t have to wait too long for their turn. Having the individual spinners, definitely sped up the process between the kids’ turns which makes everyone much happier.
Tonight, we’re having a chocolate party for our middle school service group, Junior Friends. We’re actually creating a two-part party, which means more chocolate for everyone! I also think it’s a great time of year to have something like this (with Valentine’s Day right around the corner) and it doesn’t have to focused around the holiday, especially for our middle schoolers who range in grade from 5th – 8th.
We’re doing two parts because we are also filming our summer reading commercial later this month and who doesn’t like chocolate? The middle school kids star in our commercial, so I’m outright bribing them to help us out! On the menu for tonight, we’ll be having a chocolate fountain with tons of goodies to dip – marshmallows, oreos, pretzels, strawberries, and apple slices. We’re also going to be playing a few games the first is a Hershey Kisses relay where kids will have to put on mittens (or gloves) and unwrap a Hershey kiss and then run back to their team. Our other relay consists of the kids rolling a Whopper candy across the floor with their nose. I found a lot of these ideas from a number of libraries, but the blog post that helped me the most was from Field Acquisitions: Library Ideas Gained Outside the Classroom.
And since we have to get ready for our summer reading commercial, we’ll be having the kids work on super hero masks that they can decorate as part of the commercial. So, we get to have art & crafts, games, and food – sounds like a party to me! I’ll make sure and post what we do in a few weeks which includes watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a few more great chocolate games! We may even bring back the chocolate fountain, we’ll have to see!
A red cape and underwear can only mean one thing – Captain Underpants! We hosted a Captain Underpants program last night and if the giggles were any indication, the kids had a blast! We began the evening taking a few minutes to read aloud from Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets by Dav Pilkey. I don’t care what you say, a little potty humor is never a bad thing. Some of the kids were familiar with the story while others hadn’t read this one yet – but they all enjoyed it. Let me tell you, Captain Underpants is fairly easy to read aloud and makes a great read aloud with fun words, sounds and zany characters.
When we were finally able to stop giggling, we took some time to draw our very own Captain Underpants with 16 easy steps. I was really impressed with how well the kids did! Some of the kids even went on to draw other characters, or items from the story. A few had a really hard time because they couldn’t get their picture to be “perfect.” This is a concept I struggle with on a regular basis in my programs, but I keep encouraging the kids that art doesn’t have to perfect and everyone needs to at least try their best. I may not be able to make a big difference when I only see these kids once in a while, but I’d like to think I help them in someway.
After our drawing time, we got to the super-duper fun part! The kids broke up into two groups and while one group tossed toilet paper rolls into a toilet seat (yep, a real one!), the other group flung XL tighty whities into a laundry basket. The kids were giggling and smiling and having an awesome time. After the each group got a chance to fling undies and throw toilet paper we stopped for a snack to wrap up. After our snack, I happened to have a few copies of Dav Pilkey’s ARCs and got a chance to raffle them off to the kids. The look on their face when they were told they got to keep the book forever was priceless.
Oh, and the best part? I wore khakis and a nude colored tank top, threw on a pair of those XL undies and wore a red cape – it was awesome! My job rocks!
During ALA Midwinter, I picked up a number of books that I wouldn’t normally read in the hopes of adding to my reader’s advisory repertoire. This was one of those books – I don’t watch scary movies and don’t like reading scary books, especially right before falling asleep, but after putting it off for the past month and a half, I decided I’d better read it and get it over with. Now that I’m finished, I have to say I really enjoyed the suspenseful nature of the story and think that a lot of teens will love this book.
Emily’s dad is accused of killing one of Emily’s fellow students, but she knows that he couldn’t have done it. But what could have happened in the woods behind her house that night? Emily seeks out the murdered girl’s boyfriend Damon for answers about that night. Told in alternating chapters the story is interwoven between Emily and Damon as each begins to learn more about what happened that fateful night.
The story is extremely suspenseful, I almost couldn’t read fast enough to flip the pages to find out what happened. The story also incorporates a soldier’s PTSD in Emily’s father as he tries to cope with flashbacks that leave him exhausted and confused. Emily has to traverse the difficult road of high school, all the while trying to prove her father’s innocence. This is a gripping story – perfect for teens looking for something suspenseful with a little mystery as well.
Check out the book trailer from the publisher, Chicken House! Learn more about Lucy Christopher by visiting her website!
Title: The Killing Woods
Author: Lucy Christopher
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: 2014 (US)
Page Number: 384 pgs.